World Of Warcraft Is Evolving Into A Massive, Alternate Universe
Posted on Friday, January 27 @ 13:42:18 Eastern by Jonathan_Leack
World of Warcraft hardly resembles what it once was back in 2004. Sure, you can still find people making Chuck Norris jokes in Barrens chat and plenty of players arguing over loot, but content has evolved substantially. The world of Azeroth has grown as well, and it isn't just the size of the landmass that's changed, but the mechanics that make the game feel like a living, breathing world as well.
Patch 4.3.2 is coming to World of Warcraft next week, and I couldn't be more excited. While the usual bug-fixes and balance changes are included (it's about time Fire Mage was nerfed), it's the addition of full cross-server queueing that makes it exciting. After the patch you will be able to group up and join any raid, battleground, or dungeon with players from other servers at will. Yes, that means that there's nothing separating you from running Molten Core with little Jimmy, assuming you both play the same faction.
This is a huge evolution for the game that not many really understand the full extent of. What makes MMOs so addicting is how they're able to emulate the freedom of the real world with a strong sense of atmosphere and thousands of other players to enjoy it with. Bringing down the barrier between servers is something that Blizzard Entertainment have envisioned for a long time and have taken several strides to realize. It's almost crazy to remember that you used to be restricted to PvE and PvP with other players on your local server. However, cross-realm queuing and battlegroups have eliminated that in recent years.
World of Warcraft is beginning to feel a bit more like EVE Online where everyone is playing within a single massive universe, and I like it. However, there is one dilemma: factions. While cross-server play will be fully implemented next Tuesday, there will still be absolutely no way to play with someone from the opposing faction. With Mists of Pandaria, the game's next expansion, emphasizing the war between Alliance and Horde, chances are that it will be this way for a few more years.
Although it's been more than seven years since Blizzard released one of the most successful MMORPGs of all-time on the market, the game still has plenty of room for growth. I suspect that after Tuesday's patch there will be some additional implementations in the future that make servers even less of a hindrance. This progression is surely discussed during development meetings at other studios, and teams like BioWare and Trion Worlds would have to be crazy to ignore it. Webbing servers into one massive cluster is great for making an online RPG feel more populated, and nothing's better than feeling like you're playing in a big, busy world.